Monthly Archives: June 2014
Good afternoon, readers.
Working on the foreign foods desk at AFC can be exhausting work. We must suffer through long, demanding work days, horrendously dull meetings, endless revisions, and the eating itself, which is quite taxing.
So, sometimes, we begin to feel a little down. We feel that the world and its foods are against us. Productivity plummets. People get fired. Articles don’t get written. We go on hiatus for half a year. Things like that. I’m sure many of you can sympathize. So, in order to actually get back in the swing of things, we need a pick-me-up. Of course, we’ve tried things like energy drinks and shots, but those can be a little overkill, and can cause some gastrointestinal problems in conjunction with the plethora of palatables we go through.
Often, we drink coffee–in fact, its partially responsible for the recent increase in site activity. However, coffee can be cumbersome, and as much as we like multimillion dollar settlements, we don’t like getting burns from hot beverages.
So, we thought that the best solution would be to find something that takes the power and flavor of coffee and distills it into a more manageable form. At first, we did not think such a thing would be possible, but after countless hours of tireless searching, we came across our own caffeine snack Cibola.
The item in question is the CoffeeGo candy. It is no ordinary candy. Instead, it is a Coffee Candy, a Dulces de Café, or even, a Bonbon de Café. The package itself says it is a candy for “When you don’t have time for coffee!” Such a statement could not be more true.
See, when you thank the heavens that our site is back in action, you should not be thanking any deity, but rather, the magical powers of a rather bland tasting ostensibly coffee-related hard candy, for it has fueled and motivated us all, and it should do the same for you.
Haribo is known for making various soft candies. In our travels, we’ve come across German-language and English-language versions of bears, worms, and fruits. We were a bit more surprised to find frogs (kurbağa) from Turkey in this Haribo bag. These frogs were apple flavored with a sugary white belly. As far as candy goes, they were quite good. The more interesting aspect is comparing the things that frogs of various nationalities say.
On their respective packages, English-speaking Haribo frogs say “fresh ‘n chewy!” (the dot on the exclamation point is a heart…could it be another secret message?), while German-speaking Haribo frogs say “mein fröschli!”, which means “my froggy!” The exclamation point also includes a heart on this one. Apparently frogs can be quite romantic.
The Turkish-speaking frogs, however, are strangely silent. They just leapfrog each other without saying a word. That worries me a bit. On one hand, at least they aren’t sending me secret love notes like Carlos V. But on the other hand, the quiet ones always make me nervous. I hope they aren’t planning a plague or anything like that.
The Carlos V Milk Chocolate Style Bar is a diminutive bit of milk chocolate style from Mexico. It’s named after Carlos V (or Charles V), the Holy Roman Emperor who introduced chocolate to the courts of Europe. It apparently doesn’t meet the legal definition of milk chocolate, since it is referred to as “milk chocolate style”. It also isn’t a bar for chocoholics. At 0.75 ounces (21 grams), it’s really more of a chocolate bite than a chocolate bar.
It originally seemed like it would be too unremarkable to comment on, but once I opened the package, I found a secret message from Carlos himself printed on the bar: “Soy feliz…con solo mirarte.” Or, translated to English, “I’m happy just looking at you.” Well. Oh my. I didn’t realize it was…that way, Carlos. But, OK. I mean, I suppose it’s good to have a secret admirer who sends me messages imprinted on chocolate bars. I didn’t expect that secret admirer to be a Holy Roman Emperor, but I guess it’s good to be open to new ideas. New ideas involving chocolate and secret messages and emperors who are apparently watching me from some sort of observatory. It all feels so creepy…and exciting.
I enjoy good crispy food. I enjoy good spicy food. I enjoy good food. At some points, I even enjoy good pusit, or squid, especially when it is
crispy and/or spicy. It’s extra good when it is done teriyaki style, and depicted as a delectable looking orange hued crispy thing on an equally orange hued vacuum sealed SeaKid bag, courtesy of the Philippines, land of fried meat snacks.
When I discovered this delectable looking bag of presumed deliciousness, I was thrilled, under the impression that all of my unhealthy snack yearnings would be fulfilled. Just the mere presence of the warm shade of sunburst on the bag gave me hope for a delicious culinary journey. I anxiously awaited my return to the AFC headquarters so I could pop open the enticing package and enter some sort of a culinary Nirvana, complete with a religious reawakening and ensuing revelation. Maybe I was hoping for a spontaneous combustion complete with a reincarnation as some sort of cholesterol filled caloric deity that lorded over all squids, squid products, and short order cooks. Regardless, I was excited.
I finally got home, and immediately moved to open the perfectly proportioned repository of pusit. I did so, and took an immense whiff of the squid space.
I was knocked back by the tremendous scent. But…this scent was not some heavenly experience complete with harp-playing angels and divine experience. No, it was an odor reminiscent of an abandoned but unemptied fish market left to swelter in a thousand suns before being marinated in the East River, dragged through the streets of Cleveland from a 60 year old semi-truck that hadn’t passed emissions, and shipped to the Philippines and back in the mouth of a shark.
But…but….as bad as the smell was, I’m experienced enough in the field of foreign food to know that smell is not necessarily indicative of flavor.
So, I took a closer look at the teriyaki spicy crispy squid. First, it was not a delightful shade of persimmon. Rather, it vaguely resembled an over-ripened acid-soaked tamarind fruit, a sickly dark brown color with the ever-present smell to boot. Still, I’m familiar with false advertising. A fast food burger looks nothing like is advertised but it still has some redeeming flavors. So, I went ahead and had a piece of pusit anyways.
Remember my description of my religious reawakening? Well, it happened. But not because the taste was so good. Rather, it was so awful, I burst into flames, descended into the depths of the sea, quenched the fire, reascended, and landed back at HQ. They were revolting. There was no semblance of teriyaki flavor, nor was it particularly crispy or spicy. It became an odd powder when bitten into, and the taste was very similar to the smell in that it was horrendous. Now, I have to make animal sacrifice to the ocean gods just so I can be spared from any future experiences with SeaKid Crispy Spicy Pusit (Teriyaki Style).
There are many cola-flavored candies for when you need your cola fix but can’t get to an actual can of cola. There is even the Shocking Popping variety of cola candy for when you want to be shocked and popped in a cola-flavored way. But one thing none of these candies could do was replicate the sheer perfection of an ice-cold cola. That’s where Kasugai Ice No Cola comes in. Thanks to the wonders of modern food chemistry, these tiny tablets can actually give you the actual taste of chilled cola.
Unlike mint and other natural flavors, which only give the illusion of being cool, Kasugai Ice No Cola’s main ingredient is erythritol (also known as (2R,3S)-butane-1,2,3,4-tetraol or C4H10O4). With a heat of solution of -24.1 kJ/mol, erythritol actually cools down when it dissolves in water. Thus, when you enjoy a piece of Ice No Cola, you get the real effect of ice cold cola without any of the mess. Not only that, but since it’s not real sugar, it has almost no calories, so it’s a guilt-free ice-cold non-cola cola treat. The best news of all is that unlike other sugar substitutes, it doesn’t tend to produce a laxative effect.
The bad news is that it can make you wish it would cause a laxative effect. If you overdo it, you can find yourself with nausea and a bad case of borborygmi. That sounds worse than it is, because it really only means “stomach rumbling”, but when you think of it using the technical term, you can really get yourself worked into a fit of hypochondria. Fortunately, we each only enjoyed one Ice No Cola candy. Unfortunately, we gave the rest to our polar bear.
Did I mention that we have a polar bear? I might have forgotten about that. Since all of our fans buy so many t-shirts and view so many ads, we need to spend all of that vast blogging income. As soon as we saw the polar bear on the Ice No Cola package, we knew the best way to spend our money was to buy a polar bear. Did you know how easy it is to buy a polar bear? Neither did I.
Anyway, the package made it look like polar bears eat Ice No Cola, so we fed Petey (that’s the polar bear) quite a few of these cool candies. Poor Petey. Have you ever had to stay up all night taking care of a polar bear with an upset stomach? It’s not pleasant, though it certainly was even more unpleasant for Petey than it was for us.
So, lesson learned: don’t feed large quantities of Ice No Cola to polar bears. Next question: what do polar bears eat, anyway? I’m thinking they probably eat penguins. Does anyone know were to buy some penguins? They aren’t as easy to find as polar bears.
Oh god. Oh my god. It happened. It finally happened. I tried to warn them not to get too creative. I told them that terrible things would happen if they tried to make food combinations that didn’t go together. But did they listen to me? No. Of course they didn’t listen to me. Does anybody ever listen to me? And would anybody really take my side when I was debating the Tao Kae Noi man?
I told them that they could make as many different types of seaweed as they wanted. They could make it regular, or spicy, or slather it in tempura batter. They could even make pizza flavor. But the one thing I warned them never to mess with was kimchi. The power of kimchi is just too powerful. No one who kibitzes with kimchi ever escapes unscathed.
But I’m nobody, and the Tao Kae Noi man is the supreme leader of Taokaenoi Land. So when the Tao Kae Noi man says to make kimchi flavored seaweed, the people of Taokaenoi Land listen to him, and not to me. Of course kimchi flavored seaweed is spicy and delicious, but at what cost? I had to beat a hasty retreat, so I wasn’t able to take the best photo, but you can clearly see that the terrifying techniques involved in merging kimchi and seaweed have caused some scary side effects.
Look closely at the package. Don’t you see it? Don’t you see that the cabbage has become sentient? The cabbage is alive, people! Sure, all it’s doing right now is offering everyone a delicious bowl of kimchi. But that’s how it always starts. First the vegetables come to life, then they give you food, then they eat your brains. I told them this would be bad. I told them this would end in brain-eating. But they didn’t listen. They never listen. And now the cabbages are coming. The giant living cabbages are coming to eat our brains. I think…I think I hear one now. Oh god. Run. Run!